Book Review: Payday by Celia Walden

I follow Celia Walden on social media, and have enjoyed her non fiction writing in various publications – but had not before read any of her fiction. I liked the premise of the book – and I can’t deny I also liked the premise that she is married to someone that a lot of the population love to hate! So when Celia was doing the rounds publicising the imminent publication of Payday – I hopped onto NetGalley and was kindly granted a review copy. I’ve only just read it – but that means if you like the sound of it you can buy it immediately:

Here’s the blurb:

“Late one night, three women share secrets.
They barely know each other, but they all know Jamie Lawrence. They know what he’s guilty of. And they agree something must be done.
But as their plan spirals out of control, they begin to doubt themselves . . . and each other. Then Jamie is found dead. And suddenly everything is at stake. As lies are unravelled and truths exposed, two urgent questions emerge:
Who is really guilty?
And who will have to pay?

The three women in question are Alex (Jamie’s recently sacked PA), Nicole (Jamie’s contemporary) and Jill (Jamie’s partner and mentor over the previous years) . Each has a different reason to despise Jamie – but will they be responsible for his downfall or death??

So many of the interactions were totally relatable having worked in the corporate world (as an accountant) and now working in the property sector (although as a hairy arsed contractor rather than a consultant like BWL the company in the book). Everyone knows a Jamie!

The book twists and turns massively – you know that Jamie has died early in the book – but then it goes back in time to get you to the point of his gruesome death. Each of the women – and some other women too – would have reason to destroy him, and this develops as the book progresses. Some elements of the book were quite predictable – others totally shocked me – which really kept me on my toes.

I have to say that neither Alex nor Nicole were particularly likeable – and although Jill was probably my favourite, she still had times when I wanted to give her a talking to. Each of the characters was very different – but very well observed, and I enjoyed the writing style a lot.

Different chapters are told from different points of view and I felt like the pace picked up as the book developed.

There are elements of #metoo, basic sexism, an ageism / sexism combo – and just downright being a dick by Jamie. He doesn’t really appear to have any redeeming features at all.

The twists and turns and ‘oh wow’ moments keep going right to the very end of the book which I thought particularly clever – but because of that I don’t want to reveal too much of the storyline as you need to discover it for yourself.

Overall a great read – and I could easily see it being made into a TV drama – I devoured it really quickly as I was desperate to find out what happened next. The ending does tie up lots of loose ends for all of the characters which I always like in a book.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my ARC.

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